Guildhall's Appetizers Are Impressive And Understated

Glencoe's new Guildhall has all the style and swagger of a spot on Randolph Street's restaurant row.

It's designed–and beautifully so–by the same team responsible for GT Fish & Oyster and Girl & the Goat. Custom works by photographer Laura Letinsky adorn the walls, still lives composed of the remnants of a menu-tasting session with chef Christian Ragano, a veteran of NoMI and Tru.

Ragano's appetizers are as impressive and understated as their surroundings. Buttery salmon crudo arrives dressed with yuzu, green apple and slivers of jalapeño ($11). A tarte flambée forestière ($12) one-ups the classic form with wild mushrooms and Gruyère in addition to onions, crème fraîche and smoky lardons.

A side dish of asparagus ($6) is an ode to the springtime delicacy, with slender spears of the grilled white variety topped with a brunoise of the green. We'd happily dig into a bowl of baby kale salad ($9)–packed with apple, avocado, fennel and pomegranate, dressed with a simple lemon-mustard vinaigrette–on a daily basis.

Entrées lacked the cohesion and appeal of the smaller plates. But one could easily make a meal out of the smaller plates, which is why we're already planning our return, with the dual mission of further exploring Ragano's appetizers and catching a show at Guildhall's neighbor, Writers' Theater.